Fuel price hike: PM to address nation tonight

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New Delhi, June 4 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will address the nation tonight, explaining the rationale behind the fuel price hike and will make a fervent appeal to state governments to bring down the Sales Tax so as to reduce the burden on the consumer.

Both Petroleum Minister Murli Deora and Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan confirmed that the Prime Minister will make such an appeal in his address late in the evening.

Mr Srinivasan told newspersons here that the Sales Tax collected by all the State governments worked out to a whopping Rs 55,400 crore during the fiscal 2007-08 and expected to go up to Rs 60,000 crore in the current financial year.

The figures pertain to the combine of 27 States. The Sales Tax, levied by the various State governments, varies considerably and a cap on this will not only bring uniformity but will also save the consumer from the impact of high retail prices of crude.

The highest rate of Sales Tax exists in Andhra Pradesh, Mr Deora said.

UNI SBA SG RN1416

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